I’ve had a little struggle with my art lately. Going back to school after doing my own thing for almost a year has been both good and bad, and this is why. Every teacher has their own teaching style, which is hard to balance, and each tell me different ways to solve my problems.

This wouldn’t be so bad, except that I take each piece of advice very seriously and very literally, making my art jump all over the place from one week to the next. When putting 3 of my paintings from composition class next to each other, my teacher commented that it looked like three different people had painted them. My style changes THAT much as I try to mimic what the teacher tells me that week.

Last week I got so frustrated about it. I sat in bed with Philip one night and just complained about my lack of progress and lack of direction, and how I felt like I was losing my natural abilities as I tried to be more like the teachers wanted me to be. I also sat in class and discussed it with several of my classmates.

After all that, I have come to the come to the conclusion that all the help the teachers give me is to just direct and influence my work. I can still do what I want and how I want, but just use their help to make better decisions. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time I do a drawing.

So this weekend we had a drawing assignment for my composition class and I figured this was my chance to overcome everything that I’ve been frustrated about. I would do the assignment on my own, in my own style, but incorporate the principles I’d been taught.

This was the assignment: Tape off your board in vertical stripes so that about half an inch is left between each piece of tape. Paint an academic study, then remove the tape and solve the composition (i.e. make it look good and intentional).

Step 1:

Step 2: Obviously looking pretty dumb…

Step 3: Working out the dead/empty space…trying to make the stripes look intentional…

Step 4: Finished!

I feel like this painting is totally my style and shows my natural abilities, while still incorporating the principles I’m learning at school.

The name of this painting is “Breakthrough.” I think you know why.



  1. megan says:

    That sounds very frustrating. Glad you found your own style again. Love the painting.

  2. cari says:

    Awesome painting. I enjoy seeing your work. You're great.

  3. craftyashley says:

    I like it. It does make the stripes more intentional. Great work. It is hard to keep your own personal style but also try and improve on it through teacher's help. You'll find the balance.

  4. You are so amazing. I couldn't even begin to imagine making something that!!

  5. Miriam says:

    this is so interesting – every time I see your work I think "dang it – wish I'd learned this stuff when I was young and had the energy to learn new things!!" I think it's terrific!!

  6. Monica says:

    beautiful. You are such a classy woman!

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